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Remarks by Ambassador at the Launch of Consular Service Zurich, Nov 27, 2018

Posted on: November 27, 2018 | Back | Print

Remarks by Ambassador at the Launch of Consular Service
Zurich, Nov 27, 2018

Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Evening.

Before we start today, I would like to draw your attention to a very important anniversary in India’s fight against cross border terrorism. This week is the 10th anniversary of gruesome terrorist attacks in Mumbai that lasted three days in November 2008. 166 innocent people lost their life and 300 innocent people were injured. We feel the pain of those who lost their loved ones in this terrorist attacks. This week a grateful nation bows to its security personnel who valiantly fought the terrorists. It is a day to rededicate ourselves in the fight against terrorism. I request all to observe one minute silence to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.

Thank you.

One of the first proposals that I received last year from our Indian community in Zurich is to start consular service in this city. I am happy to note as part of the initiative of ‘Indian Embassy Home Away’ we are able to open this service in Zurich today. We start it as a fortnightly service, but we will be happy to increase the frequency if required.

This is a very important year in India – Swiss relations. This year marks the 70th anniversary of signing of the Friendship Treaty we signed in 1948. We began the year with the visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Switzerland in January to give the opening key note address at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. In his speech he highlighted the economic transformation that India witnessed in the last few years. He also highlighted ‘Vasudaiva Kudumbakam’ – ‘world is one family’ philosophy of India.

In the last few years we maintained highest level of engagement with Switzerland. We have three summit level visits in the last two years. Prime Minister visited Switzerland in June 2016 and January 2018. Swiss President visited India on a State visit in August 2017. Swiss Foreign Minister was in New Delhi and Varanasi in August this year.

At the economic level our engagement continue to grow. We have a bilateral trade of USD 20 billion, though it is hugely in favour of Switzerland. We have over 250 Swiss companies in India and over 100 Indian companies in Switzerland. We are special programme called the MISSP programme to engage medium and small scale companies in Switzerland. Under this program we have reached out to over 600 Swiss companies of which 30 have on boarded with us for concrete engagement with India.

We have a multifaceted relationship ranging from science and technology, ICT, bio-technology, clean technology to yoga and Ayurveda and of course Bollywood. 

We have a vibrant Indian diaspora, of nearly 25 thousand, actively engaged in deepening our cultural engagement with Switzerland. They contribute to the economic progress of Switzerland at the same time not forgetting their roots. Under the theme ‘Connecting Himalayas with Alps’ we are working with the diaspora to celebrate India in Switzerland, throughout the year. I am happy to announce that we are also launching free yoga practice here and also will start classes for Hindi and other Indian languages in coming days. I urge all to avail these opportunities.

I thank the diaspora for its active participation at the Festival of India in Switzerland that we organized in the last few months covering several cities of Switzerland. We look forward to working with you to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. I urge all to join us for the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in January at Varanasi.

I thank you for joining us today.